Editor’s Note: We spoke with Charles Amherst, the owner and chef for Chaz 51 Steakhouse located in the Bird Bay Plaza at 549 U.S. Highway in Venice. Please call 941-484-6200 to make reservations. The current hours are 4-9pm Monday thru Thursday, 4-10pm Friday and Saturday, and noon to 9pm Sunday. Happy hour is 4-6pm. Learn more at Chaz51.com.
Chef Charles, how’s the relocation working out and what were some of the challenges?
We are excited about our new location and the positive response from the community including our new business neighbors in Bird Bay Plaza. Any relocation is challenging and everyone on our team pulled together to handle a long list of details related to cleaning, decorating, and the physical relocation. We also spent a lot of time training staff to be efficient and helpful in our new space. We have a larger space now and we’re grateful for the positive feedback from our customers.
What’s the brief history of your restaurant?
I bought the Night Trail Café in 2015 and changed the name to Chaz 51 Café and Coffeehouse. I changed the name a few years later to Chaz 51 Bistro before updating the name to Chaz 51 Steakhouse last year. The number “51” in our name was derived from the ages of our family members divided by five.
What’s your own history as a chef?
Growing up in Haiti, my early aspiration was to become a world-class architect. I eventually moved to Miami to attend a technical school. I worked in a restaurant to make ends meet and that’s where I discovered my passion for cooking. I’ve been perfecting my cooking skills and learning about the restaurant business ever since. I see the parallel between architecture and cooking. Both require planning, imagination, attention to detail, and the satisfaction of doing something well.
Please give readers a sense of your cuisine?
We offer excellent steak-based meals from 100 percent black angus beef. That includes filet mignon, ribeye, and New York strip. We also have many excellent dishes featuring tasty seafood and chicken. We have a complete selection of soups, salads, burgers, and small plate appetizers.
What else would you like to share about your restaurant?
Our robust menus highlight daily selections, dinner options, many cocktail choices, happy hour food items, and a children’s menu. We also have a nice wine list with selections from around the world. We enjoy hosting private events and provide gift cards. We do our best to make Chaz 51 Steakhouse a desirable venue for special events like birthdays, anniversaries, promotions, and more. Seeing our customers celebrating with loved ones never gets old.